Innovation Exchange

Locality Partnerships


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Driving innovation from community halls, not committee rooms – Locality Partnerships represent the biggest power-shift in North Ayrshire’s local democracy for over a generation.


North Ayrshire Community Planning Partners embarked on a radical approach where our communities were engaged and consulted in the truest sense of the word – not merely as market research - in co-designing the Locality Partnerships.

Theme: Community Planning and Empowerment

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The Community Empowerment Act 2015 gave the North Ayrshire Community Planning Partners (CPP) focus to co-design a framework with local people and community groups, enabling them to work together, ultimately resulting in Locality Partnerships. The foundations of locality planning were laid by reviewing data, mapping out the geographic and socio-economic similarities and identifying the boundaries within each of North Ayrshire’s localities.


A programme of award-winning cross-partnership accredited consultation training and events was developed in partnership with the Consultation Institute - the consultation process itself has been accredited as national best practice.

The main benefit is sharing responsibility for local action with local people. Local Area Committees were very focused on political representation and have been replaced by Locality Partnerships which are more focused on local people and their needs and priorities. This enables changes in the relationship from paternalistic public sector organisations to local determination of priorities and the targeting of resources to where they are most needed.


Communities have choice and control over the extent of their involvement. The model allows people to determine their role in defining, designing and delivering solutions and, where appropriate, to be involved in the decisions around resource allocation. The early success with Participatory Budgeting makes a convincing case to the public of the sincerity of the CPPs’ intentions.


The Locality Partnerships’ governance structures have been agreed and the role for the refreshed Community Councils confirmed. Working together to provide better outcomes for people ensures North Ayrshire’s communities are valued - the voice of those communities is at the heart of everything we do.


The six Locality Partnerships, live from April 2016, are able to operate within a clear set of guidelines and reporting processes which will support them to grow and develop. A series of six local events is planned to launch the Partnership Boards and the next stage is to develop each of the Localities’ priorities and plans. The Participatory Budgeting feedback will be taken on board and changes will be made before the roll-out of more events across the remaining localities.


Local people welcome the chance to be involved and the CPP is now focused on providing them with training and support to make a sustainable contribution. For example, the CPP is setting up local social media channels through libraries and as these public/public partnerships develop, it is anticipated local groups will take this leadership role.

Creating a robust governance framework for Locality Partnerships presented a significant challenge met by patient and open consultation. The consultation training programme strengthened the CPP’s skills and approach to discussing contentious issues, including who chairs the Locality Partnership, entitlements to membership and provided a context to use the newly acquired skills. Notably, several improvements and changes to the original proposal were adopted, including more representation from young people and communities. In a further commitment to communities, the partners are realigning their service delivery, identifying Lead Officers and reporting processes to fit the Locality geographic structure.


From the first stage of engagement, the public and community groups have been supportive of the Locality Partnership approach with most of the feedback revolving around how to make them successful. Only 6% of the consultation feedback comments were negative.


The Consultation Institute was engaged throughout the consultation process to provide critical support to ensure the process met best practice guidelines. Independent assessments were made to verify the process met strict accreditation criteria set by the Institute. North Ayrshire is now the first Council in Scotland to be awarded The Consultation Institute’s Quality Accreditation of Best Practice for the Locality Partnership Consultation.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Rhona Arthur

Senior Manager, Information and Culture

North Ayrshire Council

01294 324415

Case study added to site: June 2016

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